Booknerd Wednesday: Thrillers for a Creepy Christmas (Or whatever you celebrate!)

Oh, shit, I’m so tired, you guys. This is going to be a chill post with lots of book recs, but just let me fucking complain for a hot minute.

I feel completely wiped out and I’m not sure why. I have no motivation when it comes to books lately. I think it’s because I’m so far behind in my reading. The more I look at the pile, the less I want to read, and the less I read the less I want to.

The last quarter of the year has been a total wash for me in a lot of ways. I don’t know where the time went, or what I did or how I got to two weeks before Christmas and I’m not even done shopping yet.

I know a lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that, in a “I haven’t even started yet!” kind of way, but I’m usually done shopping, with everything wrapped, by the first weekend of the month. I make it a point to push myself to get ‘er done because I’d much rather be home in the evenings watching movies, reading and enjoying the general holiday vibe, then stressing out with a sore back in a packed mall.

But honestly, I’m so off my game right now. I’m not sure I’ll even hit my reading goal (which I’ve already lowered once.)

go away shut up GIF

In a bit of good news, I recently started fostering rescue dogs! I have my first foster right now. We’ve named him Jovi because he’s got 80’s hair band kind of fur. Check out my Instagram page (@thefuckingtwist) to see pictures of him in my highlights and stories.

We’re fostering through a group called Pound Dog Rescue. You can check out their site here.

He was picked up as a stray and had obviously been on his own for a while. Based on his frame, he’s supposed to weigh between 20 and 25 pounds, but he’s only about 16 right now. You can’t tell by looking at him though because of that long, rocker hair! But you touch him and it’s all spine and ribs and sharp bones… *shivers*

Jovi is very clearly someone’s dog. Whether discarded or lost, I can’t say. What I can say is that he’s house trained (just needed a reminder), crate trained and knows basic commands. He’s a very calm and gentle guy, with a sweet and happy personality. If you live in the KW or surrounding area, Jovi will be up for adoption in the new year, but right now we are focused on getting Jovi the much needed dental care he requires, having him neutered and putting weight on him.

In the end, he will make someone the loveliest pet! Especially if you like your reading time to be accompanied by a snugly pup! Jovi loves to hang out in bed, or on the couch, and snooze while the humans do their own relaxing.

For now (if I can get my shit together) Jovi will be cuddling with me and my own doggo Finnegan, while I do some reading.

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Yule, the Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus for the Rest-of-Us or you just like the general vibe this time of year, here is my list of books that will mix a little blood and guts in with your merry & bright.


๐Ÿ”ชThe Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

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Release Date: October 2019 | Cornerstone Digital

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: …It’s beginning to look a lot like murder…

THIS YEAR YOU’LL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE…

A lavish party. An isolated mansion. Two hosts who will do anything to protect their secrets.

When husband and wife Henry and Claudine organise their firmโ€™s Christmas party in a remote mansion, they expect it to be a night to remember.

But the festive mood quickly turns sour when a sinister gift is unwrapped in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

As heavy snow traps the guests inside the mountainside lodge it quickly becomes clear that one of the party is out for revenge.

Itโ€™s no longer just about enduring the evening. Itโ€™s about making sure you get out alive.

My Fucking Thoughts: I mean honestly, a locked room mystery set around a secret Santa gift exchange? Even if this is a terrible novel, it’s still good.

๐Ÿ”ชUnder The Ice by Rachael Blok

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Release Date: November 2018 | Head of Zeus

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: It is the week before Christmas and the cathedral city of St Albans is blanketed by snow. But beneath the festive lights, darkness is stirring. The frozen body of a young girl is discovered by the ice-covered lake.

The police scramble for clues. A local woman, Jenny, has had visions of what happened the night of the murder. But Jenny is an exhausted new mother, whose midnight wanderings pull her ever closer to the lake. Can Jenny be trusted? What does she really know?

Then another girl goes missing, and the community unravels. Neighbour turns against neighbour, and Jenny has no idea who to believe. As Christmas Eve approaches, Jenny discovers a secret about her past โ€“ and why she could be key to everything…

My Fucking Thoughts: I’m not 100% invested in a seemingly run-of-the-mill murder mystery that involves someone having fucking “visions” (barf), but it’s a Christmas mystery thriller so we have to try it, right?

๐Ÿ”ชThe Advent Killer (Antonia Hawkins, #1) by Alastair Gunn

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Release Date: November 2013 | Penguin Books

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: Christmas is coming. One body at a time.

Three weeks before Christmas: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is drowned in her bathtub.

One week later: Sunday, one a.m. A woman is beaten savagely to death, every bone in her body broken.

Another week brings another victim.

As panic spreads across London, DCI Antonia Hawkins, leading her first murder investigation, must stop a cold, careful killer whose twisted motives can only be guessed at, before the next body is found. On Sunday.

When the clock strikes one . . .

My Fucking Thoughts: I’ve had this book on my list for many Christmases but every Christmas I forget to read it. Then I see the cover and I’m like OH YEAH NEXT CHRISTMAS FOR SURE. Will I read it this Christmas, finally? No. But you should and tell me how it is.

๐Ÿ”ชDying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

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Release Date: November 2016 | Pegasus Books

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: Out Christmas shopping one December afternoon, Jessica Gould meets the charming Dominic Lacey and impulsively agrees to go home with him for a drink.

What follows is a Twelve Days of Christmas from hell as Lacey holds Jessica captive, forcing her to wear his missing wifeโ€™s gowns and eat lavish holiday meals. Each day he gifts her with one item from his twisted pastโ€”his dead sisterโ€™s favorite toy, disturbing family photos, a box of teeth. As the days pass and the โ€œgiftsโ€ become darker and darker, Jessica realizes that Lacey has a plan for her, and he never intends to let her go.

But Jessica has a secret of her own โ€ฆ a secret that may just mean she has a chance to make it out alive. 

My Fucking Thoughts: I love the idea of a twisted 12 Days of Christmas. Will it hit the mark? Probably not, but it’s the thought that counts. And my thoughts are that I want to read some twisted holiday tales.

๐Ÿ”ชChristmas Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

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Release Date: November 2012 | Bloomsbury

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: From malevolent snowmen to Father Christmas – with a difference … Chris Priestley is on absolute top form in these atmospheric, clever and thoroughly chilling stories.

Add a new kind of thrill to the fluffiest of seasons with seven brilliantly conceived examples of why you’d better be good at Christmas time. For stories which can be enjoyed by the whole family, unwrap these perfectly formed festive tales of terror, each with a gripping yarn and genius twist.

Singing carols may never seem quite the same again … especially after dark.

My Fucking Thoughts: This book is apparently published under a kid’s imprint, but I don’t see why that should stop any of us from enjoying some wholesome creepy holidays tales of terror. You better watch out. You better watch out. You better watch out. YOU BETTER WATCH OUT.

๐Ÿ”ชA Christmas Killing (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #0.5)

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Release Date: November 2015 | Mulholland Books

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: Meet Detective Kevin Byrne, rising star of the Philadelphia police force.

Christmas Eve, 1988: Partnered with streetwise veteran Frankie Sheehan, Byrne is called to investigate the brutal assault of a young woman in a crime-ridden neighborhood, The Devil’s Pocket.

There, with the rest of the city hunkered down in their holiday celebrations, relentless rookie Byrne must step out from his partner’s shadow to outwit a terrifying predator. It’s the beginning of a long career for Byrne, who will revisit the same vicious streets in Richard Montanari’s beloved Byrne and Balzano series.

My Fucking Thoughts: If you’ve read this long-running series, or if you’ve never tried it, this is a perfect place to start or to go back in time with. And who doesn’t want a little 80’s nostalgia with their bloody Christmas stories?

๐Ÿ”ชThe Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories by Various Authors

The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories

Release Date: November 2016 | Valancourt Books

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: The first-ever collection of Victorian Christmas ghost stories, culled from rare 19th-century periodicals

During the Victorian era, it became traditional for publishers of newspapers and magazines to print ghost stories during the Christmas season for chilling winter reading by the fireside or candlelight. Now for the first time thirteen of these tales are collected here, including a wide range of stories from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten.

Readers whose only previous experience with Victorian Christmas ghost stories has been Charles Dickensโ€™s A Christmas Carol will be surprised and delighted at the astonishing variety of ghostly tales in this volume.

My Fucking Thoughts: Honestly, I don’t even know how I came across this book or if I would literally ever read it because I’m not a big fan of the classic literature style, but I do love me some creepy winter folklore.

๐Ÿ”ชKrampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

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Release Date: October 2012 | Harper Voyager

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: Set in Appalachia, Krampus the Yule Lord is a twisted fairytale about a failed West Virginia songwriter who gets ensnared on Christmas Eve in an eternal war between a not-so-saintly Saint Nick and his dark enemy Krampus, aka Black Peter, an ancient trickster demon. 

Krampus the Yule Lord is Gregory Maguire (Wicked) meets Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) in the realm of Guillermo Del Toroโ€™s Panโ€™s Labyrinth, as Clive Barker (Mr. B. Gone) works his dark sorcery from the shadows.

Once again featuring Bromโ€™s chillingly beautiful artwork throughout, Krampus the Yule Lord is a feast of wonder straight from the kitchen of Sweeney Todd.

My Fucking Thoughts: I’m going to keep it real, I have no idea what the fuck this book is even about, but I’m obsessed with Krampus, so…

๐Ÿ”ชHark! The Herald Angels Scream by Various Authors

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Release Date: October 2018 | Anchor Books

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more.

That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children–Want and Ignorance–beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts.

Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.

My Fucking Thoughts: This cover is hilarious and perfect. End of discussion.

๐Ÿ”ชSnow by Ronald Malfi

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Release Date: March 2010 | Leisure Books

Merry & Bright Score: ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

Back of the Book: Todd Curry wants nothing more than to spend Christmas with his son. But when a brutal snowstorm cancels his flight from Chicago to Des Moines, Todd and a few other stranded passengers decide to rent a Jeep and make the trip on their own.

During the drive, they pick up a man wandering through the snow, who claims to be searching for his lost daughter. He is disoriented and his story seems peculiar. Strangest of all are the mysterious slashes cut into the back of the manโ€™s coat, straight down to the fleshโ€ฆ

When they arrive at the nearest town, it appears deserted. Windows dark, car abandoned, fired burning unattended. But Todd and the rest of the travellers soon learn the town is far from deserted, and that they are being watchedโ€ฆ

My Fucking Thoughts: I’ve never heard of this author or book before, but I stumbled across it in my hunt for holiday themed scary reads, and honestly, it very quickly moved to the top of the list. Monsters are eating people over Christmas. YES.


Alright, that’s my list for 2019 holiday reads. Do you have any of these on your TBR? Did anything catch your eye?

Personally, I celebrate Yule/Solstice. I’m not religious, but the winter holidays give me all the nostalgia from growing up with two parents that just ADORED the holiday season and put a lot of work into making it magical. What better way for me to get the most out of that happy feeling than to combine it with my love for murder and mayhem?

I have a couple of reviews I might get to before the end of the year, but otherwise, I’ll see you all in 2020! I’m off to do some more shopping!

Merry Whatever, booknerds! ๐ŸŽ‰

4 thoughts on “Booknerd Wednesday: Thrillers for a Creepy Christmas (Or whatever you celebrate!)

  1. I’m at same heads space with reading as you.. and also the presure of ending the year with good book adds up the pressure, so I’ve already given up on completing my goal hahahh..

    *hugs* I hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you feel better with the reading feeling soon, I guess new year new TBR and less pressure!
    Oooooh it’s so awesome that you’re fostering doggoes!!! I wish I could do that (but my cats might not like it). I hope this first experience goes great and that you find him a forever home ๐Ÿ˜Š
    As for the Christmas recs, some of them sound like they could be bad but I still want to read them all hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a cat who started peeing on my brand new couch when I first got my puppy. Now she’s on medication to keep her from stressing out, and we’ve been accident free for almost a year (knock on wood), so I was also very nervous about fostering, but this first dog basically couldn’t care less about her. She’s a piece of furniture to him, so it’s been really good so far. I’ve told the rescue I’m volunteering for that any dogs that want me to foster have to work with my furbabies first and foremost. I want to help , but I can’t risk my own pets in the process.

      And yeah, they all sound pretty bad, but at the same time I think most Christmas related stories are meant to be so bad they’re good? Like I can’t wait to see the new Black Christmas movie lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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